When faced with a backed up drain, you might be tempted to reach for a liquid drain cleaner — but think twice before you resort to pouring chemicals down your sink! Liquid drain cleaners can damage your pipes, are hazardous to your health, and might not even work depending on the nature of the clog. Instead, here are some expert tips on effective, chemical-free ways to unblock your drains. Keep reading to learn more from the experts at Best Plumbing in Seattle!
While you might associate plungers with toilets, the standard cup plunger is also a great tool for unclogging sinks. If the idea of using your toilet plunger on a sink or shower isn’t appealing, you can always purchase a second plunger specifically to use for non-toilet pipes. It’s a good investment.
To plunge a sink, empty out most (but not all) of the standing water to prevent splashing as you work. If you’re plunging a double-bowel kitchen sink, stuff a wet rag into one drain while you plunge the other. For bathtubs or single bowel sinks, seal the overflow hole with a wet cloth. This will help drive air pressure directly to the clog. Cover the drain opening with the plunger, making sure it seals, and rapidly pump the plunger up and down in 15-20 second intervals before quickly pulling it off of the drain opening. Repeat a couple of times. If this fails to break up the clog, move up to using a drain snake.
A basic drain snake (also known as an auger) is always a good addition to your toolbox and relatively inexpensive versions are available at most department stores. To use, push the snake through the pipe until you encounter resistance then start twisting it to break up the block. If you don’t have the time to purchase a drain snake you can also fashion a rough approximation using a wire hanger. This is generally enough if the problem is a ball of hair that’s stuck close to the mouth of the sink. If possible, try to pull debris out of the pipe and dispose of it in the trash. This will help ensure that it doesn’t cause another blockage further down the line.
If you’ve tried the above recommendations with no effect, it’s time to consult with a professional. Best Plumbing is available 24/7 to help you with your plumbing needs. Our expert plumbers will be able to diagnose the cause of the blockage and find the best solution. We proudly serve the Seattle and Bellevue areas.
Photo Credit: PublicDomainPicture, available under Creative Commons CCO.
When one of your drains becomes fully or partially clogged, all you want to do is get it fixed as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why so many Seattle and Bellevue area homeowners turn to liquid drain cleaner – it seems like a quick, cheap solution to a frustrating problem. However, if you ask the Best Plumbing team, they’ll tell you that liquid drain cleaners come with their own set of issues. Here are three reasons to avoid them:
Most liquid drain cleaners do their work by creating a chemical reaction with hydrochloric acid. This chemical is hard on pipes, especially if it sits on them for an extended period of time. It can melt or deform plastic pipes, and weaken or crack metal ones. Such damage can result in broken, leaky pipes down the line.
Liquid drain cleaners contain toxic chemicals that aren’t good for you, your family, or your pets. These cleaners often release strong fumes that can irritate your nose, eyes, and throat. If your space doesn’t have enough ventilation, these fumes can also hang in the air for a while afterward. Some liquid drain cleaners are also dangerous to touch, and can if they come into contact with your skin, may cause burns.
There are many possible causes of a clogged drain or pipe. Liquid drain cleaners may dissolve blockages of hair or grease, but they won’t fix more serious issues. If your clogged drain is caused by a broken pipe or sewer backup, it will likely take professional help to resolve it.
The next time you encounter a blocked drain, think twice before using liquid drain cleaners in your Seattle home. If you can’t fix your clogged pipe with a plunger or drain snake, call Best Plumbing for professional help. One of our expert plumbers will be able to diagnose the problem and find the right solution.
A clogged drain can be a source of instantaneous dread. Figuring out what and where the clog is can be challenging, especially if your Seattle area home or business has old plumbing. And, even if you know what the problem is, you may not have the know-how or the tools or the to fix it. Fortunately, at Best Plumbing of Seattle, we have over 50 years of experience, and some pretty cool gadgets too. Here’s a quick description of a few of the tools we use to vanquish plumbing woes all over the Puget Sound area.
A drain snake (sometimes called a plumbing auger or one of several other names) is a hand-held device that has a coiled-wire cable with a corkscrew at the end. When a drain is clogged, the cable is inserted into the pipe and rotated until the corkscrew twists itself into the blockage and collects enough of whatever is down there to allow the water to drain.
Because they use a thin, manually powered cable, drain snakes are typically used for smaller jobs in bathrooms and kitchens.
A plumbing rooter uses a machine-turned cable with a special head on the front. It’s basically the industrial-strength version of a drain snake and can be used in the larger pipes found in main lines that connect to the city sewer. With the proper head for the task, rooters are capable of spearing through thick sludge, scraping debris from the side of pipes, and even sawing through roots.
Although they are powerful, plumbing rooters do have some limitations. While they’re great for cutting through tough blockages, they don’t always clean the line very well. This is particularly true in areas around pipe fittings or if the obstruction is composed of greasy materials that clings to pipe walls.
Hydro-jetting is another technique regularly used to clear clogged pipes and sewer lines. As you might infer from the name, a hydro-jet uses water-pressure to cut through obstructions. There are several types of hydro-jet nozzles for use in different situations but they generally all work the same way. A powerful jet of water at the front of the nozzle creates a hole in the obstruction, while more jets at the back push the nozzle forward through the hole, often spinning the nozzle as it goes. The jets can produce water pressure in excess of 2000 lbs. per square inch, allowing the hydro-jet to shred through blockages, essentially pressure wash pipe walls, and flush debris through the line.
Because hydro-jetting machines clean pipes so thoroughly it is recommended to have done every few years (or even annually for businesses in Seattle’s foodservice industry).
If you’ve noticed slow drains in your home or business, it could be a sign that a plumbing emergency is just around the corner. Don’t wait until the situation is out of hand. Call Best Plumbing of Seattle at (206) 823-1652, and get the situation assessed by a professional today!
Photo credit: JWPhotowerks, available under Creative Commons CCO.